|By Chris Kocher||
|October 9, 2016 12:00 AM EDT||
Welcome to the latest installment in the battle of two tech titans. Last week Alphabet announced that Nest is being merged into Google. See Fortune's summary: Google Will Absorb Nest Developers.
This is the denouement to the saga that started in April, tied to infighting between the Google and Nest teams. I dissected this "silo-itis" in Why #Nest is Down, #Amazon Up, in #IoT for the #Connected Home.
Now some unsurprising new developments since Tony Fadell, the CEO of Nest, resigned in June. Here's what Google is trying to achieve by "re-absorbing" the troubled Nest group:
- A single boss: Hiroshi Lockheimer
- A unified IoT platform: includes the Google Home smart speaker and other Home products
- A more coordinated strategy (tbd) to address the Smart Home market
- Cost efficiencies and economies of scale
- Less squabbling
These are good moves. But they still don't solve the underlying issue of bringing new products to market. Google is behind in delivering Google Home, their smart speaker competitor to the Amazon Echo. And Nest has been slow to deliver new products.
More departures to come from Nest? Maybe. Depending on how Google handles these changes, the engineering teams may leave for greener pastures, which could further delay products. The question for Nest developers may be, do they ‘fly the coop,' or stay and hope to ‘rule the roost'?
Meanwhile, Amazon is rumored to have sold more than 3 million Echo units and added over 1,000 skills to help consumers control home devices, personal services, notifications and entertainment. More important, they are developing a strong ecosystem of partners, including recently added Sonos and LG which are moving toward Alexa-compatibility early next year.
Amazon is also exploring moving to new platforms. That was made clear from their talks with Lenovo about providing Alexa for a voice UI to Lenovo PCs as reported by CNET: Amazon Alexa's New Home: Your PC ?
Stay tuned for an exciting fall. We should see a number of new Amazon announcements and perhaps shipping product from Google. A rumored October 4 Google announcement is likely to unveil more details about Google Home.
For more on Amazon's IoT strategy, see Amazon Developments in IoT: A Force to Be Reckoned With. Also I'll be doing a deep dive into Amazon's IoT strategy and the overall topic of ‘Monetizing the IoT' at conferences this fall: IoT Emerge in Chicago and Internet of @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara.
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